Mad for…Chuck

The Lord is a Father, the most tender and best of fathers. He cannot fail to be moved when His children appeal to Him. (St. Padre Pio)

So, my tribute to the fantastic dads among us continues as we head into Father’s Day weekend! Today, I’d like to introduce you to a tender-hearted, joyful lover of life named Chuck Stumpf. He’s the husband of Georgia and the TERRIFIC father of my “adopted” brother, Ted. As the photo above from last year on Father’s Day testifies, Chuck is also a dog lover!

During my formative years, Chuck and all the Stumpf family were ever present. As a child, we spent every summer vacation with Chuck, Georgia and Ted. I consider them family for sure, and Chuckie is like a second father to me in both my mind and heart. With nearly utter disregard for self-respect and almost certain humiliation for several people I love, I offer the following photo as proof of our lengthy relationship. It was taken, I am fairly certain, at one of the Kentucky State Parks in perhaps 1979 or so? I’m on the far right in the striped shirt posing as if I have a hideous ear infection and Chuck is the hitman figure wearing sunglasses in the rear. It’s possible he was going for an Elvis vibe? He’s always loved “The King”. Also present are from left, Ted, my parents, my little sister, Robin, and Georgia. Good grief, we are a sight for sure!

A native of Indy’s southside, Chuck is a Southport HS graduate and from there he went on to play football at Franklin College. Becoming a Franklin Grizzly is what led him to a lifelong friendship with my Dad, Jim Dykhuizen…and the rest is history.

Chuck is honest, integrity-filled, and thoughtful. He’s faithful, bright, and supportive. Over the years, his presence at important events has truly been something I knew I could count on, and I have watched him support his own son and other family members too– always with love and respect. He’s not stingy when it comes to sharing his heart and he gives glorious bear hugs.

After many years of attending mass, Chuck converted to the Catholic Church with my Dad as his sponsor. What a joyous occasion that was for all of us who were able to attend that Easter Vigil down at St. Barnabas! I’m not sure where any of us are on our faith journey at a given point in time, but I do know that Chuck is someone who doesn’t hesitate to pick up his cross and follow Jesus. That’s a beautiful example I benefitted from by watching him make many (sometimes difficult) sacrifices for his family and others over many, many years.

Here’s the other thing about Chuck that is hard for me to properly articulate without it sounding trite. Let me try it this way. Are any of you old enough to remember Jiminy Cricket? He was the fictional character who counseled Pinocchio to “always let your conscience be your guide.” As well-formed consciences go, Chuck’s is at the top of the heap. His compass points north and his heart is as sincere as it is beautiful. It shines like the sun! He’s a man of character who is always going to try and do the right thing.

Chuckie, you are a truly beautiful human being and I love you! At certain times in my life, your graciousness to me and my family has been jaw-dropping. I wish you a very HAPPY FATHER’S DAY….! Enjoy your time in Hilton Head and we’ll catch you next summer for what I know will be a very special trip for all of us!!

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